Bay Area BBS bust., Personal E- mail- Networking W/o
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Computer underground Digest Thu Jan 13 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 06
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe (Improving each day)
Acting Archivist: Stanton McCandlish
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Copy Enigmator: A. Conan Drumme
File 1--Bay Area BBS bust.
File 2--Personal E-mail-Networking W/outLANs; Gay on-line Services
File 3--GAO Data Matching Report
File 4--John Perry Barlow, MBONE, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PST, Jan 17
File 5--New Legion of Doom T-shirts available
File 6--Patent/Tradmark Office Call for Comment (fwd)
File 7--More about 1/94 & 2/94 PTO SOFTWARE-PATENTS HEARINGS
File 8--Closing the "Values-gap": Learning from the Titanic
File 9--SotMESC Scholarship Fund Solicits Applications
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Date: Tue, 11 Jan 94 12:43:51 PST
Subject: File 1--Bay Area BBS bust.
About two years ago I helped a guy from Milpitias (just north of San
Jose) deal with a BBS bust at what he described as a "light" porn BBS.
The San Jose cops realized shortly that they had really goofed by not
considering the ECPA and related laws in their search & seizure. The
result was that they gave his system back after five weeks, and stated
in a written release that this guy's activities were within the scope
of the law. The BBS is called Amateur Action, and the sysop's name is
Robert Thomas (408-263-1079). Robert's lawyer, Richard Williams's
phone number is 408-295-6336.
Last night about 8 pm, Robert (who I have yet to meet in person)
called. A search warrant was being served at that very moment by the
US Postal Inspectors, who (with the help of San Jose cops) were
packing up his equipment and carting it out--again. Robert managed to
get one of these inspectors on the phone with me. This inspector
seemed to be rather knowledgeable of such things as the ECPA, 2000aa,
and the Steve Jackson case. He stated he was completely unconcerned
about their lack of warrants for email! He piously stated that,
because it was their intent to bring the system back within a "few
days" and, as a result of the short interruption of user access, and
their good intent "not to look at private email," they were completely
safe from the provisions of the ECPA. This postal inspector gave his
name as David Dirmeyer, from Tennessee (does this sound like Bible Belt
prosecution for pron?) and gave me the name of the US Attorney he was
working under, one Dan Newson with a phone of 901-544-4231 in TN
(though he stated that the phone # would be of no use because Dan was
at a conference for a week).
For what it is worth, the postal inspector said they were using the
San Jose cops on the bust because they did not have the expertise
themselves to move the system and make copies. According to the
investigator, they did not know that they could get a court order to
have a backup of the system made on the spot. It may be that Robert
is the target. (In spite of not meeting him, I suspect Richard may be
the kind of smart alec who attracts the attention of cops.)
Robert said there was a mystery package which came today in the mail
today (which his son and wife picked up and she opened). The package
turned out to be real honest-to-gosh kiddy porn.
Robert claims not to have ordered it, and considering that his wife
picked the (unexpected) package up and opened it, I think this is the
actual case. Robert was busy with system problems that afternoon and
had not gotten around to doing anything about the stuff. The guy who
sent it is known as "Lance White," who Robert thinks is one of his BBS
members. (As is postal inspector Dirmeyer.) They had Robert pull all
postal correspondence with this guy (video porn orders) from his files
and took it with them.
Robert thinks the postal folks may be after this guy, and his BBS just
got caught in the middle. An interesting side point is that while they
asked for the package which came that day when they came in, they did
not have a warrant for it, and said they would have drive over to SF
to get one unless he volunteered to give it up. Robert signed off that
they could take it, and they did. He noted this morning that the
original warrant he has was neither signed nor dated, though a judge's
name was typed in.
I don't know if this is something of marginal concern to those of us
concerned with government abuse of people's computers and
communications or a major concern. I intend to find out more, but if
the ECPA is applicable, this guy had about 3500 users, over 2k pieces
of protected email on his system, plus (I think) agreements with his
uses for him to represent them in an ECPA related legal action--two
million dollars if I am multiplying right. (My "Warning to Law
Enforcement Agents" was part of his signup screens.)
Question for Mike Godwin. One aspect of this case gives me the shakes.
*Anyone* with a grudge (and access to this kind of stuff) can send you
a package in the mail and tip off the postal inspectors. Short of the
obvious (don't make enemies!) how can you protect yourself from this
kind of attack?
My non-lawyer thoughts:
Burn it at once!
Call my lawyer.
Call the cops.
For a while this will be a very serious problem, because *any* of us
with readily available morfing tools can make (what looks like) kiddy
porn out of legal porn.
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 94 17:16:49 PST
From: David.Batterson@F290.N105.Z1.FIDONET.ORG(David Batterson)
Subject: File 2--Personal E-mail-Networking W/outLANs; Gay on-line Services
Personal E-mail - Networking Without LANs
by David Batterson
While the wired generation continues to gobble up cyberspace
access via PRODIGY, The Internet, UseNet, AOL, GEnie, CompuServe,
DELPHI, MCI Mail, LANs, WANs and BBSs, one software firm is taking a
questionable detour from the Information Highway.
AmerCom, an Oregon startup company, has developed an electronic
mail program called Personal-E Mailbox that lets you send and receive
e-mail on a direct PC-to-PC basis. Personal-E answers the phone,
switching any voice callers to an operator or answering machine/voice
mail system, and stores all e-mail messages for later reading and
The idea behind Personal-E is to provide a means of setting up a
cheap network that's easy to use and maintain. The software can be
used by a company, nonprofit organization, radio station, little
league team, or church group to exchange e-mail and read information.
You can also upload/download small files (up to 30K), although file
transfer is a minor function of this dedicated e-mail software. The
program will also run from a floppy, for users on the road who might
use another's PC.
When you call someone using Personal-E Mailbox, there's no
annoying modem squawk. Instead, both sender and receiver hear normal
ring tones. Personal-E Mailbox works with virtually any PC, 2400 bps
or faster Hayes-compatible modem, and any answering machine.
Personal-E Mailbox is considered a "lite" version of what will be
newer, more powerful personal e-mail programs, says AmerCom CEO Judge
Schonfeld. Schonfeld called the product a "no brainer." That's why
they are sticking with widely-used 2400-bps modems. Even if you use a
14.4K-bps modem, Personal-E lowers the speed down to a laggard
2400-bps during transmissions.
AmerCom will donate a free copy to any U.S.
senator/representative, major media organization or public library
that requests one. So far there have been no takers from politicians,
Schonfeld admits. Just getting the White House online has been a
mixed success so far, and Congress is still wresting with public
e-mail access. So expecting them to jump into an unproven e-mail
system seems very unlikely at this juncture.
Personal-E Mailbox doesn't replace your usual communications
software or BBSs and online services, but rather aims to serve a
growing niche market: small, personal networks. Schonfeld said that
some of those now using Personal-E include US Navy recruiting offices,
public schools, universities, Realtors, small businesses and home
With the trend toward cable phone service and wireless
communications surging ahead like a roadrunner, will AmerCom's
simplified approach play in Peoria? Stay tuned and see.
Personal-E Mailbox: $29.95, $49.95 for a Twin Pack.
AmerCom, Inc. (503) 531-2880 FAX: (503) 531-2884 AOL: CochJim (Jim Cochell)
Gay-Friendly National Online Service
by David Batterson
Millennium Online, a new national online service was launched
last year in Florida and continues to attract new subscribers on a
daily basis. Operated by Millennium Global of Clearwater, Florida,
the new computer information service is not gay-owned but it's
According to Senior Account Executive Sandra Fidale, "20 percent
of the sales force is gay or lesbian. I myself am out and my spouse
is recognized by Millennium at all corporate functions as what and who
she is: my spouse."
Fidale added that "to the best of my knowledge, Millennium Global
was one of the first businesses recognized by the Human Rights Task
Force (HRTF) of Tampa Bay. Millennium Global was in the first issue
of the 'Buycott Handbook' published by the HRTF."
The online service, similar to PRODIGY, CompuServe, GEnie and
America Online, offers a variety of features including electronic mail
and message forums, news and financial information. In addition,
there is buying and selling of real estate, discounted credit cards,
real-time ("live") chatting, interactive games, shareware downloads,
local access numbers, and access to The Internet.
"The Internet doubles in size annually and now links over two
million computers serving some six million users," said Vinton Cerf,
president of the Internet Society. "When electronic mail
interconnects are taken into account, nearly 20 million users conduct
their business from labs, homes and offices over the Internet," Cerf
There is no surcharge for 9600-bps modem access as with most
other major online systems.
A gay forum on Millennium Online is sponsored and hosted by 10
PERCENT magazine. You can read selected articles from 10 PERCENT
Magazine online. 10 PERCENT and Life Management--a gay/lesbian
support services and risk management organization--are placing Network
Ten online. Network Ten is an information resource designed by gay
and lesbian professionals to meet the needs of lesbians and gay men,
24 hours a day, 365 days a year, confidentially and from the privacy
of your home or office.
10 PERCENT also offers a Gay and Lesbian Business and Service
Directory that defaults to the member's area code. In addition to the
gay forum, Millennium Online provides online HIV/AIDS counseling and
an online newsletter through the AIDS Coalition, a PLWA forum.
The service provides complimentary advertising internationally
for any non-profit AIDS organization, and supplies daily AIDS updates
from a variety of resources on both legal and medical issues.
Millennium distributes condoms donated by ACP (AIDS Coalition of
Pinellas), and has distributed many condoms to Northwestern
University's Gay Student Union.
When Millennium Online officials appear at trade shows, they pass
out small black packets that have the likeness of a floppy disk on
them, and "WE
HOLD THE FUTURE" printed on the back. Inside are LifeStyles condoms. The
promotion has generally been received favorably.
The popular SHOCKING GRAY catalog is also online, with selected
photos and interactive customer service capabilities. SHOCKING GRAY
distributes Millennium Online's brochures, and is placing Millennium
Online in their future catalogs.
Millennium Online offers CommunitySpirit's long distance calling
program to their membership, and will be a resource for Overlooked
Opinions in future polls. In addition to online services, Millennium
Global donates two percent of all corporate profits to the AIDS
Coalition, and accesses all telecommunications products through the
Since Millennium Online has corporate sponsors, this allows the
company to charge less than comparable services. Users pay $10 a
month plus .10 per minute for unlimited access to all services
including The Internet. E-mail messages are unlimited, and include
free return receipts, sound, graphics and choice of onscreen fonts.
For more information, contact Millennium Global, Inc., One
Corporate Drive, Suite 119, Clearwater, FL 34622; (800) 774-0122,
(813) 572-0122, FAX: (813) 571-1183.
David Batterson of Portland, OR, writes about computers, online
services and gay/lesbian subjects for various newspapers and magazines.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Fido NetMail: 1:105/290.
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 1994 15:14:32 EST
From: Dave Banisar <banisar@WASHOFC.CPSR.ORG>
Subject: File 3--GAO Data Matching Report
GAO Data Matching Report
ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON, DC 20515-8143
PRIVACY CONTROLS OVER COMPUTER MATCHING LARGELY IGNORED
Rep. Condit Releases New GAO Report
A new General Accounting Office (GAO) report found serious
deficiencies in implementation of the 1988 Computer Matching and Privacy
Protection Act The report was released today by Rep. Gary A.
Condit (D-CA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Information, Justice,
Transportation, and Agriculture.
Computer matching is the identification of similarities or
dissimilarities in data found in two or more computer files. Matching is
frequently used to identify delinquent debtors or ineligible program
recipients. Computer matching has been criticized as an invasion of
privacy, and the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act was passed to
regulate the use of computer matching by federal agencies.
In releasing the report, Rep. Condit said: "Most federal
agencies have done a lousy job of complying with the Computer Matching Act.
Agencies ignore the law or interpret it to suit their own
bureaucratic convenience, without regard for the privacy interests
that the law was designed to protect.
"As a result, we don't have any idea when computer matching is
a cost-effective technique for preventing fraud, waste, and abuse. I
support reasonable computer matching that saves money. But if we are
losing money, wasting resources, and invading privacy, then it makes no
"A broader issue is whether agencies can be expected to police
their own operations that affect the privacy of the average citizen.
Certainly OMB has done little to assist. We may need a different approach
to overseeing federal privacy-related activities."
GAO found numerous problems with the implementation of the Act's
Cost-Benefit Analyses: The Act requires that matching programs
include an analysis of the costs and benefits of the matching. One of the
purposes of the Act was to limit the use of matching to instances where the
technique was cost effective. GAO found many problems with
implementation of this requirement, including poor quality or non-existent
analyses. In 41% of cases, no attempt was made to estimate costs or
benefits or both.
In 59% of cases whem costs and benefits were esfimted, GAO
found that not all reasonable costs and benefits were considered; that
inadequate analyses were provided to support savings claims; and that no
effort was made after the match to validate estimates.
o Data Integrity Boards: The Act requires agencies involved in
matching activities to establish a Data Integrity Board to oversee the
process. GAO found that the Boards were not providing full and earnest
reviews of proposed matches. GAO did not find any instance in which a
Board pemianently cancelled an ongoing matching program or refused to
approve a newly proposed one.
GAO did not find evidence that the requirements of the matching
act were used by the Boards to determine if a match should be approved. GAO
also found that the implementation of the new procedures does not appear to
have had major effects on the most important review process, the decision
to conduct the match.
GAO found that the Data Integrity Boards generally accepted
agencies and states cost-benefit analyses despite their "severe
methodological flaws and lack of documentation." The documentation often
failed to show how costs and benefits were calculated or the time period
for expected savings. Agencies rarely estimated the most significant
Overall, GAO found that the Data Integrity Boards provide less
than a full and earnest review of matching agreements to detem-dne whether
to proceed with proposed matches, but rather a regularization of the
The report is titled Computer Matching: Quality of Decisions
and Supporting Analyses Little Affected by 1988 Act. The report number is
GAO/PEMD-94-2, and the date is October 18, 1993. Copies can be obtained
[for free] from GAO by calling 202-512-6000.
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 1994 14:10:13 -0500 (EST)
From: Stanton McCandlish <mech@EFF.ORG>
Subject: File 4--John Perry Barlow, MBONE, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM PST, Jan 17
John Perry Barlow will deliver the keynote address opening the winter
USENIX conference at the San Francisco Hilton, Jan 17-21, 1994. The
keynote will be broadcast (audio and video) on the Internet MBONE from
a bit after 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM PST on Monday, January 17.
Barlow will speak on recent developments in the national information
infrastructure, telecommunications regulations, cryptography,
globalization of the Net, intellectual property, and, generally, of
the settlement of Cyberspace.
In 1990, Mr. Barlow and Mitch Kapor co-founded the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, and he currently serves as chair of its executive
<thanks to Evi Nemeth, email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 94 02:15:43 EST
From: erikb@PHANTOM.COM(Chris Goggans)
Subject: File 5--New Legion of Doom T-shirts available
After a complete sellout at HoHo Con 1993 in Austin, TX this past
December, the official Legion of Doom t-shirts are available
once again. Join the net luminaries world-wide in owning one of
these amazing shirts. Impress members of the opposite sex, increase
your IQ, annoy system administrators, get raided by the government and
lose your wardrobe!
Can a t-shirt really do all this? Of course it can!
"THE HACKER WAR -- LOD vs MOD"
This t-shirt chronicles the infamous "Hacker War" between rival
groups The Legion of Doom and The Masters of Destruction. The front
of the shirt displays a flight map of the various battle-sites
hit by MOD and tracked by LOD. The back of the shirt
has a detailed timeline of the key dates in the conflict, and
a rather ironic quote from an MOD member.
(For a limited time, the original is back!)
"LEGION OF DOOM -- INTERNET WORLD TOUR"
The front of this classic shirt displays "Legion of Doom Internet World
Tour" as well as a sword and telephone intersecting the planet
earth, skull-and-crossbones style. The back displays the
words "Hacking for Jesus" as well as a substantial list of "tour-stops"
(internet sites) and a quote from Aleister Crowley.
All t-shirts are sized XL, and are 100% cotton.
Cost is $15.00 (US) per shirt. International orders add $5.00 per shirt for
Send checks or money orders. Please, no credit cards, even if
it's really your card.
City, State, Zip: __________________________________________
I want ____ "Hacker War" shirt(s)
I want ____ "Internet World Tour" shirt(s)
Enclosed is $______ for the total cost.
Mail to: Chris Goggans
603 W. 13th #1A-278
Austin, TX 78701
These T-shirts are sold only as a novelty items, and are in no way
attempting to glorify computer crime.
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 1994 08:13:19 +0200 (WET)
Subject: File 6--Patent/Tradmark Office Call for Comment (fwd)
Subject-- PTO Call for Comment
Date--Wed, 5 Jan 94 10:27:09 est
CALL for LETTERS
Since the formation of the League for Programming Freedom it has been
our contention that patents should not be granted on software. Many
people in the academic community and industry share this position.
We are now being offered an opportunity to affect a change in the
current patent system.
The United States Patent Office is now admiting that there is
something wrong with the way patents on software are currently
implemented. They have issued the attached statement calling for
statements to be made on software patents.
The League for Programming Freedom plans on sending a representitive
to testify in these hearings. We are also asking all concerned
individuals to send their comments to the patent office. To make it
easiest for people to do this the LPF has set up a mailbox for this
To make comments please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will send your message to the patent office and to the LPF so we
can keep track of this activity. If you choose to send in your
comments via US Mail we would appreciate it if you could CC a copy to
the LPF so we can have it in our files.
Since this is such an important opportunity I urge all of those
concerned to take the time to send a letter to the Patent Office.
This may be our last chance to change the system of software patents.
Christian D. Hofstader
League for Programming Freedom
(617) 492 0023
The following is the request by the Patent and Trademark Office:
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Patent and Trademark Office
Docket #: 931222-3322
Notice of Public Hearings and Request for Comments on
Patent Protection for Software-Related Inventions
AGENCY: Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce
ACTION: Notice of hearings and request for public comments
SUMMARY: The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is interested in obtaining
public input on issues associated with the patenting of software-related
inventions. Interested members of the public are invited to testify at
public hearings and to present written comments on any of the topics
outlined in the supplementary information section of this notice.
DATES: Public hearings will be held on January 26-27, 1994, at the San Jose
Convention Center, 408 Almaden Avenue, San Jose, California, and on February
10-11, 1994, at the Crystal Forum in Arlington, Virginia. Those wishing to
present oral testimony at any of the hearings must request an opportunity to
do so no later than five days before the date of the hearing at which they
wish to testify. Written comments on the topics presented in the
supplementary information section of this notice should be received by the
PTO on or before March 15, 1994.
ADDRESSES: Those interested in presenting written comments on the topics
presented in the supplementary information, or any other related topics,
should address their comments to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks,
marked to the attention of Jeff Kushan. Comments submitted by mail should
be sent to Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Box 4, Patent and
Trademark Office, Washington, DC 20231. Comments may also be submitted by
telefax at (703) 305-8885 and by electronic mail through the Internet to
email@example.com. Written comments should include the following
information: - name and affiliation of the individual responding; - an
indication of whether comments offered represent views of the individual's
organization or are the respondent's personal views; and - if applicable,
the nature of the respondent's organization, including the size, type of
organization (e.g., business, trade group, university, non-profit
organization) and principal areas of business or software development
Parties offering testimony or written comments are asked to provide their
comments in machine readable format in one of the following file formats:
ASCII text, WordPerfect for DOS version 4.2 or 5.x, WordPerfect for Windows
version 5.x, Word for Windows version 1.0 or 2.0, Word for DOS version 5.0,
Word for Macintosh version 3.0, 4.0 or 5.x, or WordPerfect for Macintosh
Persons wishing to testify must notify Jeff Kushan no later than five (5)
days before the date of the hearing at which they wish to testify. Mr.
Kushan can be reached by mail sent to his attention addressed to the
Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Box 4, Washington, DC 20231; by
phone at (703) 305-9300; or by telefax at (703) 305-8885. No requests for
presenting oral testimony will be accepted through electronic mail.
Written comments and transcripts of the hearings will be available for
public inspection no later than March 30, 1994, in Room 902 of Crystal Park
Two, 2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia. In addition, transcripts of
the hearings and comments provided in machine readable format will be
available after March 16, 1994, through anonymous file transfer protocol
(ftp) via the Internet (address: comments.uspto.gov), and will be available
for Wide Area Information Server (WAIS) searching after March 30, 1994.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Kushan by telephone at (703) 305-9300,
by fax at (703) 305-8885, by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail
marked to his attention addressed to the Commissioner of Patents and
Trademarks, Box 4, Washington, DC 20231.
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1993 12:59:28 -0800
From: Jim Warren <jwarren@WELL.SF.CA.US>
Subject: File 7--More about 1/94 & 2/94 PTO SOFTWARE-PATENTS HEARINGS
Tracked down a bit more on the January and February Patent & Trademark
Office hearings on software patents - so-called, software-related
Today (12/20), the Federal Register apparently [finally] carries the
public notice of the meetings - reportedly drafted and ready for
publication at the end of November. I am awaiting fax and electronic
copies of it and will post and e-distribute it after I get it.
For your very own original copy however, send email to
email@example.com and put the following in the subject-line: fr notice
request (requests an electronic copy of the official Federal Register
The person apparently responsible for organizing the hearings is:
Jeff Kushan [NOT Kushman], Esq.
Legal and International Intellectual Property Specialist
Office of Legislation and International Affairs
U. S. Patent and Trademark Office
voice/703-305-9300; fax/703-305-8885; firstname.lastname@example.org
He seemed knowledgable, was cordial, appeared frustrated by the
delay in the [required] Federal Register notice publication, and I had
the impression that he and/or the PTO has received more than a little
heat and fury over software-patent problems (though he made no such
Reporters and press can contact Ruth Ford in the PTO Public Affairs
Office at 703-305-8600 (East Coast time, of course). I am faxing a
large list of trade and lay-press technology reporters to Kushan, as
soon as I can dig it out.
This msg is being BLIND-copied to a number of technology reporters,
as well as a number of others who may be sensitive about their e-addrs
being in the msg header.]
The hearings will be Jan 26-27 (San Jose) and Feb 11-12 (Arlington),
before Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman, senior PTO staff, some Dept.
of Commerce staff and/or officials, and probably others - specifics
still being planned.
Speakers will probably be limited to 7-12 minutes, but will be
permitted and encouraged to submit more extensive written comments,
before and for a limited period of time after the hearings.
While I was uploading the previous msg, the fax-copy of the official
notice of the software-patent hearings arrived - 22 pages, plus
Just checked with Kushan; he sez he sent an electronic copy to me (but
I have to check into a different machine to dissect it from my mound
Given its length and electronic availability -- those wishing a copy,
please request it directly from Kushan at PTO. By email to
email@example.com, use a subject-line stating, "fr notice request" .
Jim Warren, 415-851-7075
== Please copy, post and recirculate, widely. ==
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 1994 10:34:38 CST
From: Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <fins@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET>
Subject: File 8--Closing the "Values-gap": Learning from the Titanic
READ THIS ISSUE OF FINS TO CONSIDER:
* Lessons of the sinking of the Titanic
* Improving the giving/getting compact in our lives
FINS: Communicating the Emerging Philosophy of The Information Age
FEDERAL INFORMATION NEWS SYNDICATE
VOL II, ISSUE NO. 1 (111 lines) EMBARGOED UNTIL JANUARY 3, 1994
CLOSING THE "VALUES-GAP":
New Beginnings: Learning from the Titanic
By Vigdor Schreibman
This is a hopeful time of year. Vice President Al Gore gave a
speech just before the new year telling us that as we explore the
challenges of the information age "we shouldn't hesitate to chart a
new course" to avoid the dangers of narrow thinking. He invoked
another of his wondrous metaphors, the tragedy of the sinking of the
Titanic 91 years ago, to illustrate the kind of problems that occur
when people are narrowly focused on profitable business interests and
feel no obligation to respond to larger public needs.
Gore observed that "The Titanic wound up two miles under the
surface of the North Atlantic in part because people hadn't realized
that radio was not just a curiosity but a way to save lives."
Moreover, he explained, government has an obligation to get involved
in such matters,
because there are certain public needs that outweigh private
interests. Today, as divers explore the hulk of the Titanic, we
face a similar problem. A new world awaits us. It is one that
can not only save lives but utterly change and enrich them. And
we need to rethink the role of government once more.
What Gore was suggesting was the need to rethink the interest
of the communications industry to be free of business regulation and
the public need "to avoid creating a society of information "haves"
and "have nots." He observed that the Government "cannot relax
restrictions from legislation and judicial decisions without strong
commitments and safeguards that there will be a 'public right of way'
on the information highway." Gore also asserted that "We must protect
the interests of the public sector. That's essential in building the
information highway. That's essential in providing affordable
services for public education, public health and government."
In short, a deal is being proposed: prudent deregulation of
private industry in return for a public right of way on the
information highway to serve paramount public needs so that everyone
will benefit. It has been more than a decade since Daniel Yankelovich
described the cultural revolution that is sweeping the United States,
"rewriting the giving/getting compact." That revolution revolves
around the struggle to lesson the influence of instrumental forces in
our lives and to heighten the sacred/expressive elements. In "New
Rules," Yankelovich described how "simultaneously tens of millions of
Americans have concluded that the old giving/getting compact that
served our society so well for so long must now be revised because it
fails to accommodate the sacred/expressive yearnings that lie at the
heart of people's experiments in self-fulfillment." [Yankelovich,
1981: ch. 22]. Al Gore has invoked the tragedy of the Titanic to
underscore the seriousness of that cultural and political yearning in
the context of proposed legislation for development of his
"information superhighways." On January 11, in Los Angeles, he will
outline in more detail the main components of the legislative package
the Clinton administration will present to Congress.
Congress has already provided for a strikingly successful
operational test bed of what is required; namely, the National
Research and Education Network (NREN) program connecting schools,
libraries, and local governments to each other and to the Internet.
An institutionalized NREN model can serve the paramount human, social,
and ecological priorities of the global people. The design of a
telecommunications infrastructure architecture that can serve the
public goods expected from the NREN program--that private industry has
no real interest in serving--is a precondition to the viability of any
public policy in this domain. Such an infrastructure must preclude
opportunistic industry controls governed by materialism and profit
maximization to the detriment of principled "third sector" purposes.
Moreover, the need for an appropriate infrastructure must not be
confused with operational functions of the infrastructure (e.g.,
universal access, privacy, etc.) that are distinct from and dependent
upon the infrastructure. What the "third sector" must have to realize
these paramount purposes of society, as recognized by enlightened
academic and real-world experience [e.g., McGarty, 1992], is total
control over its own necessary backbone network services, and
mid-level networks. This can be publicly supported by direct
instrumental subsidy and by a grant of financial interest in
commercial network services that have been made possible through
billions of dollars in Federal subsidies to industry. Congress can
franchise a National Public Network Corporation to competently manage
and coordinate those independent "third sector" network services.
Private enterprise in the information revolution should then be free
to pursue the gold mines of the 21st Century to their hearts content.
The deplorable "technological imperative" that has heretofore
guided the allocation of tens of billions of dollars annually for
public information technology, was recognized to be without public
vision in testimony before Congress Dec 2, 1993, by Sally Katzen,
Administrator of the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
The Titanic dangers that are inherent to the information age,
requiring instrumental support for public goods, is now openly
advocated by the Vice President. Sobering experience has taught us to
expect little from such declarations to ameliorate the rigged and
lopsided giving/getting compact in our lives, but the tide may be
turning. With a little luck and collective perseverance in pursuing
our purpose, something good could come of all this talk about
=============== Federal Information News Syndicate, Vigdor Schreibman,
Editor & Publisher, 18 - 9th Street NE #206, Washington, DC
20002-6042. Copyright 1994 FINS. Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FINS is archived at the inforM (Information for Maryland) system.
CapAccess, "All the Gopher Servers in the World" or Telnet
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 16:23:18 -0600
From: "Robert E. Jones" <rejones@WHALE.ST.USM.EDU>
Subject: File 9--SotMESC Scholarship Fund Solicits Applications
The SotMESC scholarship fund is to advance those that wish to learn
more about the computer sciences, their applications and cultures.
The qualifications are for the person desiring such a scholarship to
print up in single-spaced format, double-spacing between the
paragraphs, a 15-20 page document detailing an aspect of the
All entries will be judged and measured by the SotMESC Scholarship
committee. Those that are accepted will be summarily reviewed by a
second group from the SotMESC and those that are deemed of quality
will receive scholarships based on their weighted averages.
This scholarship is open to anyone. All submissions will become the
property of the SotMESC. All authors will be recognized for their
submissions. Any and all references should be cited.
This fund is open and applicable to all accredited colleges and
universities. The amount of the scholarship and terms will vary
P.O. Box 573
Long Beach, Ms 39560
Founded in 1989, this organization is dedicated to preserving the
integrity and cohesion of the computing society. By promoting
computer education, liberties and efficiency, we believe we can secure
freedoms for all computer users.
The Government needs to be led and educated on the computer
cultures and realms. The laws that have been pushed through our
legislative system are not solutions to our problems, but constraints
put upon us.
The people are on the edge of a technological backwash. They
will be choked on the amount of information that will be pouring into
their homes across the country. Tomorrow's generations must prepare
for a new society vastly different from that which we are living in
The world is being tied into a global network at an astronomical
rate. Every month more services, networks, countries and facilities
are integrated into the world-wide networks than ever before. The
demand is increasing. Future network implementations and schemes need
to be formulated and put into place to meet this demand so that
everyone can be online throughout the world. Let us be united
together in information and communication.
The ability to telecommunicate and enjoy the freedoms of the nets
is a vital concern. Government regulations of personal privacy
compromises and lengthy restrictions to otherwise legal actions
outside of the nets is abhored. Our society is united in the networks
we reside upon in a full comprehensive effect.
Join Today !!!
Student/Military: $20+ Citizens: $50+ Corporations: $10,000+
Total Donation: Your donations are vital to us !!!
We will not be intimidated by any corporate donations.
All memberships will receive the SotMESC Newsletter to keep informed.
Providing scholarships to promote educated users.
Keeping members informed via the newsletter on events.
Keeping the public informed via the CSP Forum, an online system
-for the masses and members to utilize to keep informed.
Provide financing to those that are/have fought unjust computer
Providing Legal advice to those members with such needs.
Working towards being able to provide a machine to members to gain
-accounts on and Internet services.
Attending conventions and providing reports to the members
-of the SotMESC via the newsletter.
Attending debates to dispute computer roles and cultures.
The SotMESC NewsLetter :::
A most informative array of articles and notices. Convention
topics and dates, along with ongoing activities. Computer news on the
Network community. Advice on preventing Government intervention and
infiltration. Networking information and sites. BBS prospects.
Monthly mailings. A -MUST- for anyone with a Modem !!! Etc . . .
Anyone on the networks, bulletin boards or familiar with the issues
of the computer realm can now get more information in an up-to-date
format by joining the SotMESC. Our newwsletters come out on a monthly
basis and feature articles about current computer legislation,
conventions, Internet sites and information, bulletin board numbers of
value, and details of the activities we are conducting to promote
computer usage over the lines, networks and courts.
Getting this newsletter is conditional to joining the SotMESC in
helping us provide programs and funding for projects to secure
computer usage and education. These projects include our scholarship
fund, computer relocation program for discarded systems, counseling,
promoting responsible laws for computer usage, and associated
End of Computer Underground Digest #6.06